WINE WARS Mike Veseth  $24.95 Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Mike is a well known wine economist. WINE WARS is a well documented easy read survey of three forces affecting wine 1) Globalization 2) Two Buck Chuck style wine (low cost non-vintage brands i.e. not from a specific year and can be blended from many vintages and locations) and 3) Terrorists.  Like most economists (for obvious reasons J) he believes accurate predictions are not really possible. He aptly points out that few if any observers in the 1960’s would have correctly predicted today’s wine world. Hence he provides alternate scenarios for wine’s future.  He also gives fun facts such as “Selling wine during the depression, Ernest Gallo would pour two glasses of wine for customers: one 5 cents per bottle and the other which held the same wine, was 10 cents. They always bought the 10 cent wine.”   

The China chapter went beyond the usual Hong Kong auctions and are pushing Bordeaux prices to insane levels to discuss the possible emergence of a new Chinese Terror based on Chinese flavors such as pandam leaves and longam amngosteen (Sauvignon Blanc) or Thai white blossoms, lemongrass and green mangoes (Riesling). While the author hinted that Asian food and wine traditions “prime consumers to think about wine differently and to appreciate different qualities in it”, he could have elaborated more. I believe that the author missed a key point of the Chinese (and eventually Indian) wine industry.  Unlike Western four (five tastes with unami), there is a Chinese five element theory and Indian six tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent.  (Ayurveda.) For example, all six tastes should be incorporated into each meal. Such Wine and food pairing represents an entirely new way to view wine.  I look forward to that.

VINO ARGENTINO: An Insider’s Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina  Laura Catena $27.50 Chronicle Books

This is an Argentine love fest and extensive homage to the Catena family patrimony:  All well deserved.  This book is a wonderfully styleded personal yet researched view of Malbec and wines of Argentina.  I recommend it to all Malbec lovers and believe the Argentine tourist board should give a copy of this book to every potential wine tourist! After reading the following you might wish for dessert.  

“If you are in the mood for a romantic winery lunch, take the afternoon off and spend a couple of hours at Natalie Ortega’s Urban restaurant inside the O.Fournier winery.  The window lined restaurant has views of the vineyards that make you feel like meditating or kissing, depending on the company and Natalia’s beautifully prepared and locally sourced dished have a way of making you ask for dessert if you didn’t intend to.”

SCIENCE OF DRINKING Amitava Dasgupta  Ronan & Littlefield Publishers  ($34.95)
Best advice: “Always consume food while you are drinking. Sip and enjoy your alcohol. Do not consume more than one drink in one hour.”
Pseudo Science: “No one below the age of 21 (the legal age for drinking) should drink.”  This is Puritan cultural prejudice masked in science.

Scientific research has established that drinking in moderation has many health benefits, including maintaining a healthy heart.  I agree, but what is eye opening are the official government guidelines for drinking in moderation in various countries. For example in most countries, women and men are equal but not in the US (up to two drinks for men, but only one for women).
It comes as no surprise that in wine drinking countries the “scientific” maximums are much higher, e.g. three for both men and women in Spain and higher still in France.
My favorite government recommendation is from down under.  In Australia, the recommended maximum drinking is three glasses (for both men and women). However, this daily recommendation comes with a caveat – two days a week No Drinking! 

While the Science of Drinking is a good reference for health professionals and professional wine educators, it is too technical and not sufficient cogent for me to recommend it to the general wine drinking public.